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Swallow Falls Loop is an easy one-mile hike offering scenic views of the Youghiogheny River and ancient hemlocks.

This is an easy one-mile hike that is especially suited for those who enjoy a picnic lunch and a scenic stroll afterwards. From the main parking lot, you'll find the trail just beyond the restrooms on the north side. Head southeast into the ancient hemlock forest dotted with white pines. These 300-year-old evergreens is a 40-acre parcel managed as wilderness.

At about 0.4 mile, descend east to the first of four scenic waterfalls. Enjoy the dense shade as you're tempted to wade at the base of Toliver Falls. Head back to the main trail and wind northbound to Lower Falls and Swallow Falls. Observe the dense understory of mountain laurel and rhododendron hugging water's edge. The main trail continues north to another set of falls, each worthy of a photograph. Maryland's tallest waterfall awaits. Muddy Creek is reached at 0.7-mile. At this point, Muddy Creek and the Youghiogheny River create a whitewater turbulence fighting for dominance in the Allegheny Plateau. Up the trail, is the park's most well known site, Muddy Creek Falls. It drops 63 feet offering a superb photograph. Take the steps to the top of the falls. After spending some time soaking up the gorgeous view, proceed along Muddy Creek to a trail junction leading over the creek and entering the forest. Once across the creek, the trail makes a circuit back to the parking / picnic area offering more sights of the same lovely plantlife interspersed along the trail. On the way back, don't miss the historical marker commemorating a camping trip of four noteworthy Americans: industrialists Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone; inventor Thomas Edison and naturalist John Burrows.

For those who enjoy swimming, there are several very fine swimming holes just below each falls and more in the creek and river downstream. Flat boulders warmed by the sun's rays are delightful spots for sunbathing after a cool dip. This is a great spot for family fun. Don't swim above Muddy Creek Falls, people have fallen to their death here. If visiting in winter, expect to see photogenic ice formations.

Directions: From Morgantown, WV, Follow Rt. 68 east to exit 14 and Rt. 219. Follow Rt. 219 south 19.5 miles to Mayhew Inn Road (2 miles past Deep Creek). Turn right on Mayhew Inn Road, travel 4.5 miles to end of road. At the stop sign turn left onto Oakland Sang Run Road, travel 0.3 miles to first road on the right which will be Swallow Falls Road. Turn right onto Swallow Falls Road and travel several miles to the park entrance. The trailhead is beyond the restrooms at the north end of the parking lot. Travel time is estimated to be 2 hours.

Elevation: 2,300 feet

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Difficulty: Easy

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Swallow Falls State Park, West Virginia

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The details, dates, and prices mentioned here were accurate at the time of publication.

Review by Wildernet Copyright © 2010 all rights reserved.